Photos by David Mulvihill

Summer Time at Oggi’s

There is a new summer menu at Oggi’s/Sports/Brewhouse/Pizza (locations throughout Southern California). Executive Chef Jason Tsiames has launched new menu items to highlight the best of summer produce with Oggi’s signature-brewed craft beers. Each recommended beer was the starting point in creating a corresponding food pairing. Chef looked for ingredients that would complement and enhance the beer. This reporter and his wife recently dined at Oggi’s Mission Viejo to sample the new menu items, and of course, the beer.

Duck Dive Hefeweizen was the inspiration for Oggi’s new Summertime Salad. With arugula as its base, pickled red onions, candied walnuts, dried cranberries, fresh sliced apples and Feta cheese were added and tossed in honey-lemon vinaigrette. Additional protein options include all-natural chicken or shrimp. The vinaigrette clears one’s palate and assists in heightening the delicate flavors of the hefe, while the hefe in turn complements the salad’s fruit and sweet components.   

The maltiness of McGarvey’s Scottish Ale went well with the spice and roast notes of the SoCal BBQ Chicken Salad. This salad combined mixed greens, black beans, sweet corn, chopped tomato, fresh cilantro, Gouda cheese and chipotle BBQ chicken. Tossed with house-made Santa Fe dressing, it was topped with crispy onion strings. The combination provided a fitting contrast to the sweet notes in the ale.  

For the Southern Chicken Sandwich, Oggi’s California Gold is the suggested brew. Served on a brioche bun, spicy southern-style buttermilk fried chicken is draped in melted American Swiss cheese and topped with roasted shallot aioli, avocado, shredded lettuce, tomato and pickles. The light, clean, refreshing notes in the California Gold tend to cut any perceived heaviness of the proteins in the sandwich without overpowering it flavors. 

It wouldn’t be Southern California summer if there wasn’t an IPA on the menu. Hoppily Ever After IPA, with its fresh citrus notes and bittering malt balance, fits the bill and easily accompanies Crispy Brussels Sprouts. The Summer Lovin’ menu continues through the summer and we can look forward to a new seasonal menu every season.

A Bit of History–Oggi’s & Left Coast 

San Clemente-based Oggi’s has been around for 27 years. That was when brothers George and John Hadjis opened their first pizza restaurant in Del Mar. In 1995 a brewhouse was added to that location, when Oggi’s multiple-TV sports focus was already bringing folks in, and the top notch house-brewed beer would add more to the mix. Along with one of San Diego’s notable pioneer brewers, Tom Nickel (currently of Nickel Beer Co and O’Brien’s Pub), the restaurant and brewery would go on to win numerous awards, including being named World Champion Small Brewery and Brewer in 2004 at the World Beer Cup awards. This was the same year that the family opened its Left Coast/Oggi’s production brewery in San Clemente. In addition to brewing beer for its growing chain of franchised restaurants, its sister brewery, Left Coast Brewing Company, was also born. With an amazing group of brewers Oggi’s beers would continue to receive many accolades that include eight World Beer Cup and 10 Great American Beer Festival awards. Left Coast has also received one WBC and two GABF Awards.

A strong focus and dedication to family is exemplified by the number of Hadjis family members in key company roles. In addition to George and John, George’s wife Dora, daughter Estella, son Tommy, and John’s son Shawn hold key positions. In addition to the aforementioned Southern California locations, there is also one in Glendale, Arizona.

Left Coast II

Regarding Left Coast Brewing Company, it is very timely to note the recent opening of a second location. Irvine is home to Left Coast’s new brewery, tasting room, smokehouse and distillery. Yes, Left Coast’s newest location has food, signature beer, an onsite brewery and will soon be firing up its still. A recent visit (during the extremely busy first two weeks after opening) found its 24 taps dispensing 13 Left Coast beers on tap and a new BBQ-focused menu. Starters include KC fried pickles, burnt ends and beer battered onion rings. Vegetarian fare includes a smoked garbanzo and purple kale salad with marinated onion, heirloom tomatoes and feta. Three types of mac n cheese include traditional cheese and enhanced versions with smoked pulled pork or smoked bacon. The non-veg area of the menu includes brisket, pulled pork, chicken and ribs in varied options.

Comfortable, approachable and casual, the new location offers much to an area definitely lacking in something of the like. Beer prices are also notably approachable. Most beers are also offered in 3 sizes: tasters, 10-ounce and full pint pours. Enjoy Left Coast’s core beers, from Del Mar St Dortmunder-style lager to Asylum Belgian-style tripel and Hop Juice triple IPA, and an assortment of Brewer’s-choice beers—new beers worth trying that might not be around for long. One of those on the brewer’s list was Simply Mosaic, a 5.5% ABV New England-style pale ale exuding flavors of citrus juices. This beer also saw a recent release in 16
ounce cans.

Left Coast Brewing Co Irvine
6652 Irvine Center Drive